Keepsakes + Vintagey Tea Towels

My Grandma Martens "Mama" is an embroidering Ninja. She is crazy talented and makes beautiful things. It is a legacy that her and my Grandpa have definitely created - the joy in making beautiful things.

Shortly after I was married I received my first set of embroidered tea towels from my Grandma. I love them. Unfortunately because I was too scared to actually use them I kept them stored and they yellowed a bit from whatever conditions they were stored in. I was so bummed. This year, my Grandma surprised me with a whole new set! Wahoo!

She makes the tea towel themselves too and I'm a little amazed at her perfect hemming. So tiny and so perfect. I don't actually know if she hand or machine embroidered the images but either way they are as well, perfect.

My new tea towels got me all excited so when the urge to create something hit the other night I figured I'd try to make some more tea towels to display next to my embroidered ones. One of my current goals is to start using my vintage sheets (and not just stockpiling them for the fun of it!) and so I started selecting!

I used one of Grandma's tea towels as a template for size and added extra on the edges for the hem.

Next I started piecing little "bits and bobs" (as the English one would call them) onto the base of the tea towel.

It takes me FOREVER to press a seam. I am determined to learn ways to be quicker. Anyways, I think it ended up a cute little tea towel. I have 3 more cut... I just need the time to finish them. Another thing I'm learning is that it's a good idea for me to prep projects and store them so that I can work on things in short spurts as I find the time.

I'm not really sure how effective bedsheets will be as a tea towel. Pretty sure the polyester in it won't make it super absorbent but I don't know that I want to use used bedsheets to dry my dishes anyways. For know I think their purpose is just to look pretty hanging on my stove and add a bit more colour and vintageness to my kitchen.

Thanks Mama for the tea towels!


  1. I found your blog from pinterest and have been browsing around, I love it. I had to comment on this post because my Grandma made the same type of embroidery towels, I only have one but I just love the ones you made from bedsheets! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks so much! Welcome here :) It's such a blessing to have these keepsakes! I'm thinking I'll have to make a copy of the vintage patterns some day so they can keep being passed on!

  3. Any chance she sells on etsy? My mother is a nut about collecting and giving and using embroidered linens such as these . . . and has a birthday coming up in February. :)

  4. Hi! Though I've had many entrepreneurial ideas for her over the years I don't think she'd do it :) She was a professional embroiderer for 30 years and is retired so I think she just does it for family. Have you ever checked out House 8810? They have a lot of vintage inspired products and have a bunch of really cute tea towels. I just looked this morning and they even have "days of the week" towels. The picture is only stamped but they have a cute crocheted trim.

    Then, Anthropologie actually has embroidered tea towels. They are gorgeous! Expect to pay over $20 per towel though whereas House 8810 you can get a set for just over $20.

    Hope that helps!

  5. One more thing... just did a quick search and found this site where you can purchase vintage tea towel embroidery patterns so that you could make your own :)

  6. Ladies embroidered their tea towels for decorative usage during tea time to cover food. And since 19th century tea towels are very famous.. I also like different types of tea towels like Plain Dyed Towels, Embroidered Towels, Jacquard Towels Design, Embroidered Towels for Kitchen.


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